Phenol Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Phenol Overview Transcript
The global phenol market is structurally short and will remain so until new capacities starts to come on stream in Asia over the next few years.
Demand for phenol derivatives is set to remain steady in Europe, Asia and the US. This is because demand in downstream markets such as bisphenol A, caprolactam, adipic acid and phenolic resins is likely to remain subdued in the near term.
Global economic uncertainty and slow growth in developed markets will play their parts to aid stability. There is some concern over the supply of cumene, an upstream chemical, which may itself become short, tightening supply.
The other challenges facing the market for phenol are sharp fluctuations in the benzene price which can be hard to pass on to consumers in downstream markets where prices are negotiated rather than set on a formula basis.
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Phenol news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Phenol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Phenol
Track historical price data
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Phenol: Market overview
Updated to Q2 2015
Asian phenol supply is expected to lengthen in the second quarter, boosted by the commissioning of two new phenol plants in China with a combined capacity of 550,000 tonnes/year. However, the large number of overlapping phenol plant turnaround schedules in China in the second quarter, alongside the March shutdown of two plants for annual maintenance, could offset the gain in supply.
US phenol prices are expected to follow the movement of feedstock benzene, which was seen trending up at the start of the second quarter. Producers continued to push for relief from weak margins over benzene by seeking price increases. Demand is said to be flat given the disappearance of exports to Asia, although several planned turnarounds could tighten supply in the second quarter.
European phenol volumes are expected to continue to remain strong with a weak Euro and low prices stimulating demand. Export volumes depend on attractive pricing in India and China, as well as on exchange rates. Second-quarter contract adders over benzene are expected to increase by up to €20/tonne. Increased Asian capacity is a risk, but it is unlikely to make a significant impact on Europe in the second quarter due to transportation issues.
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Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.